It's a weird one, that's for sure. OurCamden has been part of my life for over four years, and today I leave my operational role. It's also the day we get to publish our first impact report. A nice way to finish. Make sure you have a good read of it. It's very encouraging.
The vision we had for OurCamden was (and still is) a very bold one. We want to reduce the impact of loneliness. Camden is up there with the highest levels of social isolation in the UK, yet it is the most amazing, vibrant and very busy borough. And we wanted to do it without becoming another support service- Camden already has a fair few of those (although thanks to government cuts, there are getting less- don't get me started!). We want to appeal to people who didn't need “support” but rather create opportunity: Opportunities to meet new people, to try new things, to save a wee bit of money with local businesses, to connect with this stunning borough, and most of all opportunities for people to be themselves and use their skills for the greater good. Bold eh!
And without getting too X Factor about it, it has been a hell of a journey. Some of it so hard, and so bad it would've been easy to chuck in the towel. But that stuff is for another day.
Today is a good day. A day when the torch gets firmly passed on. A day to say thank you.
Because OurCamden wouldn't be where it is without a pile of people. There's Richard, our original commissioner from the Council, who had enough drive to commit to finding a new way of doing things! There's Gary from Age UK Camden, who thought my wee vision had something about it, that was worth pursuing. There's the board, who gave up their time as volunteers. (We got there!) There's staff and volunteers: Sass, Tricia, Sumbo, Dee, Justine, Mary, and Annie. Thanks.
I just want to especially thank Sass. Without Sass there would've been times I would have chucked it all in. We were a great pairing. Me the eternal optimist, you the cynical realist keeping my feet on the ground and leading the way to the bin with some of my more fanciful plans. Between the two of us we had enough realism and optimism to make it work. I have found a friend for life!
And Dee too: What a stroke of bloody luck it was when she trudged up the steps to the interview room and nervously shared her presentation with us. Dee has been a revelation and is a complete star. You members are so fortunate to have her. Her commitment to you is beyond parallel and I am delighted that Dee is continuing to play her part in making membership of OurCamden such a positive thing.
My thanks to Sam and HCCT for having the vision to see how OurCamden can carry on as part of your organisation, adding to the great work you already do.
Most of all, I want to thank members for joining. I have had the enormous privilege of getting to know some of the most wonderful people. Lively, funny, and full of spirit. Even the awkward ones amongst you, we need you too ( although a little tolerance sometimes would be good). It has been an utter delight. I hope you all continue to enjoy being a member.
Here's to a great OurCamden future
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